Control-M Review

By using the credentials vault, we don't need to share passwords anymore

What is our primary use case?

Because of security issues that we have, we are a private and public enterprise. Our main area is the lottery in Portugal. This is the most important business that we have. Also, because the money comes from the game, we need to invest it in social, health, and real estate areas.

How has it helped my organization?

For my current organization, it is a new tool. We are implementing the tool right now. We have a lot of impact jobs running every day and night, but in a skeletal matter. So, these jobs are running at one o'clock in the morning. With historical run jobs that we needed, we know it took six or seven hours to finish. Then, we have another cron job in another system at eight o'clock. With Control-M, we can reduce a lot of this time. Because when this job is finished, it will immediately start the job in another system. At this moment, we do this manually with an operator. Sometimes, they have errors because it is manual. It is not robots who do the job. Also, it takes a long time. We are losing time between jobs, if it is not automatic.

Our operator guys mostly use the web interface. As a client, we are more using the UI for the planning of the jobs. However, if we want only to do monitoring, then we only use the web interface. As we continue to work from home, there are a small number of operators who are still at our work. For security purposes, it is important to have the web interface in place because we don't like to install it on our clients because we don't have administration of the PCs. We cannot install on laptops without authorization. Access to Control-M only with a browser is really important and makes our job easier to do. We can access Control-M with a laptop, app, or mobile.

Before Control-M, we didn't have a centralized view and could not view what happened in the past to determine what will happen in the future. The Gantt view that we have in Control-M is like a project view. It is nice because we sometimes have some application maintenance that we need to do. So, in a single console, we can hold the jobs for the next hour or two. We can release that job when it is finished. This is a really nice feature that we didn't have before. It is something really simple, but we didn't previously have a console where we could say, "For the next two hours, what are the jobs that we will run? And, hold these jobs not to run." This is really important.

We use the Conversion Tool for audit purposes. We have had things working for a long time, but not documented. The Conversion Tool is nice because it helps us understand our jobs, whether they should be in Control-M or not. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature for us is Managed File Transfer. We have a lot of file transfers in-house. Every FTP was being done by hand. Managed File Transfer is simply the best thing for us. This is the most used feature.

The credentials vault is really important. Before Control-M, every user's operator needed to know the username and password to access a system. With Control-M, we don't need to share passwords anymore. We write down the username and password one time, then we use it without knowing the password. 

The amount of integration that Control-M already has. We use the web services. We are using the SQL and Oracle integrations because we have a huge environment and a lot of applications in-house. Because we have integrations with all these tools, we don't need to give access to the operators. Now, we have everything in a single pane of glass. The operators can see all night what is happening, where, and if they need manual intervention.

One of our most used features is Control-M's library of plugins for orchestrating and monitoring work flows and data. We have a lot of different applications, plugins, and API automation, which are really important for us. We are migrating a tool from Apache, which is Java code. So, we can schedule the Java code with the API automation plugin that Control-M delivers for us. We are now starting to operate this way.

We use the Control-M Role-Based Administration feature. It is integrated with our Active Directory. We have groups in Active Directory, who are administrators and operators. Then, we map this role-base directly in Control-M. Role-Based Administration empowers us to decentralize product teams to manage their own application workflow orchestration environments with full autonomy. We divided this by environment: production, non-production, and demo environments. For each of these environments, we have different roles in Microsoft Active Directory. These roles are implemented by Control-M Role-Based Administration.

The use of Role-Based Administration eliminates the need to submit tickets or requests to the Control-M administrator. They don't open tickets and are autonomous when doing their job. From a security posture standpoint, it is important for us because we know that only the people who have credentials can access these environments, doing the job that they have to do.

We use Control-M Centralized Connection Profiles. We create the connections for the user and password. After that, we don't need to share passwords anymore, which is important for us.

What needs improvement?

We develop software. More frequently, we are working with microservices and APIs, using our integration tool, MuleSoft. While Control-M is really a good tool to integrate with other tools, it is important for them to continue improving their microservices and API.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Control-M for more than 10 years. First, I was working in a consulting company, as a consultant, where we implemented Control-M. Now, in the last year, I have been a customer in a huge organization in Portugal. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We can work with jobs that should run daily because of it. When we need to do an upgrade, it is really important for us not to have any downtime.

We are always afraid to install the latest version. However, with Control-M, it is really comfortable to move onto the latest version because of the stability. When I worked as a consultant, I never had any problems. Even when we had Control-M in two data centers, if one goes down, then we can run Control-M in another data center. Few software solutions have the stability of Control-M. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have different areas: real estate, games, social activities, and healthcare. The scalability for us is really important because we have different agents installed by business area. We don't mix it. Also, we have to always buy our VM servers per business area, so we can upscale how we want, which is really nice to have in Control-M. Critical jobs can run from different servers if something is not working.

How are customer service and technical support?

BMC support is an eight out of 10. Everyone has centralized outsourcing for the first line of their service desk. They always ask some of their normal questions. After a while, once those guys know our workflow and understand that we already have some knowledge in Control-M, it is really fast to solve the problem.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We really needed a job scheduling tool. At the end of the day, we bought BMC Control-M. It is for a distributed environment where we have a lot of different working systems, operating systems, and applications. Control-M is the application and tool that meets our expectations.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. It is really easy to understand the architecture, and even install it. Based on some internal rules that we have in-house, Control-M fits well with our architecture.

It took a day to install and a week to implement. After one week, we had some jobs working and were able to get the users to see, control, and monitor the jobs. We had it deployed and working in less than a week for Windows, Linux, and HP-UX operating systems as well as VMS.

What about the implementation team?

My principal difficulty implementing in-house was that people didn't understand what the job scheduling tool can do for us. It was long hours, and a lot of days, saying to our internal colleagues that this is the right tool. With this tool, we didn't need to have a lot of consoles anymore, i.e., working 24/7 to try and open every console to understand what is happening. We can have a single tool for all the jobs, applications, and operating systems. We can monitor and schedule all the jobs. They thought this is rocket science and doesn't exist. This solution has existed for a long time and is really important. 

What was our ROI?

The use of Centralized Connection Profiles has helped lower our total cost of ownership. Before BMC Control-M, we had different environments with the same users. We saw before that even the passwords for the different environments are the same. Before Control-M, we had passwords in emails and chats. Sometimes, the password would expire. With Control-M, we changed that. Every environment has an administrator who needs to write a password. We give them access to write the password directly into Control-M. The person configuring the job only needs to know who the user is, not the password.  With this functionality, the time that it takes has been reduced.

It reduces the duration for a lot of our jobs. We no longer have a window for maintenance applications at night.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This is an area where it is a little difficult to work with BMC. They want to do licenses by job, which is what we have. For example, the simplest is to license by job, but they can also license by nodes. While the licensing is simple to use, it might not be the correct licensing model for the customer. It is okay because we want to license by job, which is something measurable. At the end of the day, licensing by job is the most important.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated other vendors, like CA, but CA was bought by another company, and we have been a little afraid. Our organization always buys with a tender. Our tender had a lot of requirements on it and only Control-M could meet them all. It was a public tender, so we didn't really choose Control-M. We had a huge list of requirements that we really needed for job scaling. Only BMC could do it. IBM Tivoli tried to answer, but it didn't meet all our requirements.

Most tools have a huge GUI. You need to open five to seven windows to go to the parameters. Sometimes you don't have all the parameters in the GUI. With Control-M, it is three clicks and we have all the information that we need. We can see that in Control-M, we can see that all the perimeters are there for one job, like Managed File Transfer. It is very intuitive, and we can understand where to find the parameters to configure.

What other advice do I have?

I think that every single company should have Control-M installed, because it is really important and useful for everyone.

I would rate this solution as a 10 out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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